(July 17, 2013)


FORT LEE, Va. -- The Army Artillery Mechanic is no longer a male-only military occupational specialty.

Two Soldiers -- Pfc. Jessica Jones and Pfc. Angelika Jansen -- are the first females to hold the military occupational specialty, or MOS. They graduated from the U.S. Army Ordnance School Tuesday.

The 15-week course they attended, also known as MOS 91P, is one of six the Army opened to women last year as part of an effort to loosen the combat exclusion provisions under the Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule.

As artillery mechanics, the two active-duty Soldiers will perform maintenance and recovery on self-propelled cannons such as the M109A6 Paladin, a weapons system that can be located on the frontlines of a combat theater.

Jones, the daughter of an Air Force retiree, downplayed her ground-breaking achievement.

"I just look at it as something else under my belt," said the 24-year-old. "I didn't try to make this a big deal because I didn't want to put myself on a high pedestal. It's just another challenge I've faced, something I've done that I never thought I could have."
Jansen, a native of Garland, Texas, seemed more excited about her "first."

"This is a step forward for women," said the 23-year-old daughter of an Army veteran. "I find it pretty awesome. But at the same time, I'm ready to move past the honeymoon stage and get into my work; get the show rolling."


FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Reaching the goal of net zero waste at Fort Carson is getting a boost through a waste service contract that began in May, which includes the task of collecting compostable waste at several dining facilities and the commissary.

Six Nations, the new recycle and refuse contractor, subcontracts with local company Bestway Disposal for collection of the food waste left on plates at the dining facilities. The commissary will begin composting spoiled food within the next several weeks when it receives a large-scale compactor.

"Organic waste typically is the second largest percentage of municipal waste behind paper products," said Eric Bailey, recycle program manager, Operations and Maintenance Division, Directorate of Public Works. "Having large generators of that material on post, we believe it's an easy approach to putting another major dent in landfill-bound materials."

Bailey estimates that through the compost collection effort, up to 1,200 tons of food waste will be collected and diverted from going to the landfill yearly.

Many items are compostable, to include such things as fruit and vegetable peels, meat, tea bags, coffee grounds, bread, egg shells and various paper products.

At its end state, the waste becomes beneficial again, becoming compost through natural decomposition of the material with other wastes (such as bio-solids, gypsum, wood, yard wastes, etc.). Once the compost process is complete, it can be used as natural fertilizer that is rich in nutrients, Bailey said.